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Witch Hunts: From Salem to Guantanamo Bay / Edition 1

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Overview

Witch hunts are the products of intense fear and paranoia and their results are often terrible. In three famous witchcraft cases - in Bamberg and Wurzburg, Germany, in Loudun, France, and in Salem, Massachusetts - the accused were assumed to be guilty without proof. Secret accusations were accepted, evidence was falsified, and extreme pressures, including torture, were used. Arguing that fear was, and still is, a prerequisite to any witch hunt, Robert Rapley shows that the current hunt for terrorists mirrors the witch crazes of the past.

Rapley analyses witch hunts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and finds many of the same elements repeated in more recent miscarriages of justice - the Dreyfus case for treason in late nineteenth-century France, the persecution of the Scottsboro Boys in Alabama for the gang rape of two white girls in the 1930s, and the Guildford and Maguire terrorist prosecutions in Britain in the 1970s. All three cases took place during times of extreme fear and paranoia and in all cases the accused were innocent. Today, argues Rapley, the "witch" lives on in the "terrorist." Pointing to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, the first prisons created for "witches" since Salem, he makes a compelling case that, in the wake of 9/11, today's America risks the same terrible results from modern-day witch hunts.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780773531864
  • Publisher: McGill-Queens University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2007
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 326
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Rapley is the author of A Case of Witchcraft: The Trial of Urbain Grandier. A retired civil servant, he lives in Ottawa.
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Table of Contents


Introduction     ix
Note on Sources     xi
Part 1
Witches and Fear of the Devil     3
The Bamberg and Wurzburg Witch Hunts, 1626-1630     8
The Characteristics of a Witch Hunt     27
The Devil in Loudun     32
The Arbitrary Terror of a Witch Hunt     60
The Salem Witches     63
Hysteria Set Loose     98
Part 2
The Dreyfus Affair     103
If It Walks Like a Duck     138
The Scottsboro Boys     142
The Witch Hunters     168
The Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven     170
Power, Secrecy, and the Witch Hunt     202
Part 3
America after 9/11     207
The President     216
Muslim Fears     229
Guantanamo Bay     234
Torture, Rendition, and "Ghost Prisoners"     245
The Case of Maher Arar     253
The Shape of Things to Come     264
Notes     275
Bibliography     283
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